Kenyans dominate Bydgoszcz Cross Country meet in Poland

Lucy Mawia and Levy Kibet won the women and men’s titles
The Bydgoszcz Cross Country is part of the World Athletics Tour
Kenyans didn’t do well in the Spanish leg

Kenya’s Lucy Mawia and Levy Kibet completed a double at the Cross Country Bydgoszcz na Start, producing convincing victories at the World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold event at the city’s Myslecinek Park on Sunday.

Mawia, who finished second overall in last year’s World Cross Country Tour, bided her time on the first two laps of the 2km course and finally made a move on the final circuit to open up a 10-second lead by the time she reached the finish line.

A large pack of 10 runners ran together through the opening 2km lap, covered in 7:12. The pace then started to increase, and by the half-way stage just five women remained in contention: Mawia, fellow Kenyans Maureen Cherotich and Lilian Jepkemboi, Ethiopia’s Tsiyon Abebe and Ukraine’s Viktoria Kaliuzhna.

By the end of the second lap, though, Mawia had just Abebe and Cherotich for company.

Mawia started to push on and reached the finish line of the 6km race in 20:11, 10 seconds ahead of world U20 3000m silver medallist Abebe. Cherotich finished a comfortable third in 20:27.

Similar men’s race

The men’s race similarly boiled down to three principal contenders, though they emerged much earlier in the race.

Kibet, the eventual winner, ran alongside Bahrain’s Birhanu Balew and Uganda’s Joel Ayeko for most of the race, covering the first 2km lap in 5:59 before reaching the half-way point in 11:53. The pace increased again on the next lap, which was covered in 5:46.

But Kibet, the 2021 world U20 5000m bronze medallist, had the better finish and pulled away from his opponents in the closing stages to win in 23:18. Balew was second in 23:25, nine seconds ahead of Ayeko.

Meanwhile in Spain, Kenyans didn’t have similar results as they didn’t perform as well as they should have at the at the Cross Internacional Zornotza, the first Spanish Gold meeting of the season.

Sole Kenyan in top 10 

Peter Njeru was the sole Kenyan in the top 10 in the men’s race having timed 26:29 while there was no Kenyan in the women’s top 10.

It was a victorious day for the Burundians with Rodrigue Kwizera winning the men’s race while Cavaline Nahimana was second in the women’s race won by Isabel barreiro of Spain.

Kwizera, the 2021/2022 Cross Country Tour winner, proved to be the strongest by far in the men’s 8.7km contest and won in a time of 25:45 while compatriot Celestine Ndikumana was fifth.

“It was a nice race. I ran very comfortably during the first laps and only decided to change my rhythm entering the last lap to secure the win,” he said after the victory.

Leading results from Bydgoszcz

Women

1 Lucy Mawia Muli (KEN) 20:11

2 Tsiyon Abebe (ETH) 20:21

3 Maureen Cherotich (KEN) 20:27

Men

1 Levy Kibet (KEN) 23:18

2 Birhanu Balew (BRN) 23:25

3 Joel Ayeko (UGA) 23:34

Additional information courtesy World Athletics

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